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Research Papers

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):051001-051001-10. doi:10.1115/1.4041726.

A new model approach is presented in this work for including convective wall heat losses in the direct quadrature method of moments (DQMoM) approach, which is used here to solve the transport equation of the one-point, one-time joint thermochemical probability density function (PDF). This is of particular interest in the context of designing industrial combustors, where wall heat losses play a crucial role. In the present work, the novel method is derived for the first time and validated against experimental data for the thermal entrance region of a pipe. The impact of varying model-specific boundary conditions is analyzed. It is then used to simulate the turbulent reacting flow of a confined methane jet flame. The simulations are carried out using the DLR in-house computational fluid dynamics code THETA. It is found that the DQMoM approach presented here agrees well with the experimental data and ratifies the use of the new convective wall heat losses model.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):051002-051002-12. doi:10.1115/1.4041517.

High loads and bearing life requirements make journal bearings a potential choice for use in high power, epicyclic gearboxes in jet engines. Particularly, in a planetary configuration, the kinematic conditions are complex. With the planet gears rotating about their own axes and orbiting around the sun gear, centrifugal forces generated by both motions interact with each other and affect the external flow behavior of the oil exiting the journal bearing. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations using the volume of fluid (VoF) method are carried out in ANSYS fluent (ANSYS, 2013, “ANSYS Fluent User's Guide,” ANSYS Inc., Canonsburg, PA) to numerically model the two-phase flow behavior of the oil exiting the bearing and merging into the air surrounding the bearing. This paper presents an investigation of two numerical schemes that are available in ansysfluent to track or capture the air–oil phase interface: the geometric reconstruction scheme and the compressive scheme. Both numerical schemes are used to model the oil outflow behavior in the most simplistic approximation of a journal bearing: a representation, rotating about its own axis, with a circumferentially constant, i.e., concentric, lubricating gap. Based on these simplifications, a three-dimensional (3D) CFD sector model with rotationally periodic boundaries is considered. A comparison of the geometric reconstruction scheme and the compressive scheme is presented with regard to the accuracy of the phase interface reconstruction and the time required to reach steady-state flow-field conditions. The CFD predictions are validated against existing literature data with respect to the flow regime, the direction of the predicted oil flow path, and the oil film thickness. Based on the findings and considerations of industrial requirements, a recommendation is made for the most suitable scheme to be used. With a robust and partially validated CFD model in place, the model fidelity can be enhanced to include journal bearing eccentricity. Due to the convergent-divergent gap and the resultant pressure field within the lubricating oil film, the outflow behavior can be expected to be very different compared to that of a concentric journal bearing. Naturally, the inlet boundary conditions for the oil emerging from the journal bearing into the external environment must be consistent with the outlet conditions from the bearing. The second part of this paper therefore focuses on providing a method to generate appropriate inlet boundary conditions for external oil flow from an eccentric journal bearing.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):051003-051003-12. doi:10.1115/1.4041933.

Impingement cooling is commonly employed in gas turbines to control the turbine tip clearance. During the design phase, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is an effective way of evaluating such systems but for most turbine case cooling (TCC) systems resolving the small scale and large number of cooling holes is impractical at the preliminary design phase. This paper presents an alternative approach for predicting aerodynamic performance of TCC systems using a “smart” porous media (PM) to replace regions of cooling holes. Numerically CFD defined correlations have been developed, which account for geometry and local flow field, to define the PM loss coefficient. These are coded as a user-defined function allowing the loss to vary, within the calculation, as a function of the predicted flow and hence produce a spatial variation of mass flow matching that of the cooling holes. The methodology has been tested on various geometrical configurations representative of current TCC systems and compared to full cooling hole models. The method was shown to achieve good overall agreement while significantly reducing both the mesh count and the computational time to a practical level.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):051004-051004-12. doi:10.1115/1.4041932.

Diesel engines are of great challenges due to stringent emission and fuel economy requirements. Compared with the conventional turbocharger system, regenerative assisted system provides additional degrees-of-freedom for turbocharger speed control. Hence, it significantly improves control capability for exhaust-gas-recirculation (EGR) and boost pressure. This paper focuses on modeling and control of a diesel engine air-path system equipped with an EGR subsystem and a variable geometry turbocharger (VGT) coupled with a regenerative hydraulic-assisted turbocharger (RHAT). The challenges lie in the inherent coupling among EGR, turbocharger performance, and high nonlinearity of the engine air-path system. A control-oriented nonlinear RHAT system model is developed; and a linear quadratic (LQ) control design approach is proposed in this paper to regulate the EGR mass flow rate and boost pressure simultaneously and the resulting closed-loop system performance can be tuned by properly selecting the LQ control weighting matrices. Multiple LQ controllers with integral action are designed based on the linearized system models over a gridded engine operational map and the final gain-scheduling controller for a given engine operational condition is obtained by interpreting the neighboring LQ controllers. The gain-scheduling LQ controllers for both traditional VGT-EGR and VGT-EGR-RHAT systems are compared with the in-house baseline controller, consisting of two single-input and single-output (SISO) controllers, against the nonlinear plant. The simulation results show that the designed multi-input and multi-output LQ gain-scheduling controller is able to manage the performance trade-offs between EGR mass flow and boost pressure tracking. With the additional assisted and regenerative power available on the turbocharger shaft for the RHAT system, engine transient boost pressure performance can be significantly improved without compromising the EGR tracking performance, compared with the baseline control.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):051005-051005-12. doi:10.1115/1.4041871.

Dual-fuel engines can achieve high efficiencies and low emissions but also can encounter high cylinder-to-cylinder variations on multicylinder engines. In order to avoid these variations, they require a more complex method for combustion phasing control such as model-based control. Since the combustion process in these engines is complex, typical models of the system are complex as well and there is a need for simpler, computationally efficient, control-oriented models of the dual-fuel combustion process. In this paper, a mean-value combustion phasing model is designed and calibrated, and two control strategies are proposed. Combustion phasing is predicted using a knock integral model (KIM), burn duration (BD) model, and a Wiebe function, and this model is used in both an adaptive closed loop controller and an open loop controller. These two control methodologies are tested and compared in simulations. Both control strategies are able to reach steady-state in five cycles after a transient and have steady-state errors in CA50 that are less than ±0.1 CA deg (CAD) with the adaptive control strategy and less than ±1.5 CAD with the model-based feedforward control method.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):051006-051006-10. doi:10.1115/1.4041755.

This research evaluated the operational conditions for a diesel engine with high compression ratio (CR) converted to spark ignition (SI), under stable combustion conditions close to the knocking threshold. The main fuel used in the engine was biogas, which was blended with natural gas, propane, and hydrogen. The engine limit to test the maximum output power was using the knocking threshold; just below the knocking threshold, the output power and generating efficiency are the highest for each blend. Leaner mixtures increased the engine knocking tendency because the required increase in the % throttle reduced the pressure drop at the inlet stroke and increased the mixture pressure at the end of the compression stroke, which finally reduced the ignition delay time of the end gas and increased the knocking tendency of the engine for all the blends. Therefore, the output power should be decreased to operate the engine below to the knocking threshold. Purified biogas achieved the highest output power and generating efficiency compared with the other blends and the original diesel operation; this blend was operated with five equivalence ratios. Purified biogas exhibits an optimal balance between knocking resistance, low heating value, flame speed, and energy density.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):051007-051007-9. doi:10.1115/1.4041010.

An axial flow fan developed in the previous study is tested in order to characterize its performance. The M-fan, a 7.3152 m diameter rotor only axial flow fan was designed to perform well under the challenging operating conditions encountered in air-cooled heat exchangers. Preliminary computational fluid dynamics (CFD) results obtained using an actuator disk model (ADM) as well as a periodic three dimensional model indicate that the fan meets the specified performance targets, with an expected total-to-static efficiency of 59.4% and a total-to-static pressure rise of 114.7 Pa at the operating point. Experimental tests are performed on the M-fan in order to determine its performance across a full range of flow rates. A range of fan configurations are tested in order to ascertain the effect of tip clearance, blade angle, and hub configuration on fan performance. Due to the lack of a suitable facility for testing a large diameter fan, a scaled 1.542 m diameter model is tested on the ISO 5801 type A fan test facility at Stellenbosch University. A Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes CFD model representing the M-fan in the test facility is also developed in order to provide additional insight into the flow field in the vicinity of the fan blades. The results of the CFD model will be validated using the experimental data obtained. Both the CFD results and the experimental data obtained are compared to the initial CFD results for the full scale fan, as obtained in the previous study, by means of fan scaling laws. Experimental data indicate that the M-fan does not meet the pressure requirement set out in the initial study at the design blade setting angle of 34 deg. Under these conditions, the M-fan attains a total-to-static pressure rise of 102.5 Pa and a total-to-static efficiency of 56.4%, running with a tip gap of 2 mm. Increasing the blade angle is shown to be a potential remedy, improving the total-to-static pressure rise and efficiency obtained at the operating point. The M-fan is also shown to be highly sensitive to increasing tip gap, with larger tip gaps substantially reducing fan performance. The losses due to tip gap are also shown to be overestimated by the CFD simulations. Both experimental and numerically obtained results indicate lower fan total-to-static efficiencies than obtained in the initial CFD study. Results indicate that the M-fan is suited to its intended application, however, it should be operated with a smaller tip gap than initially recommended and a larger blade setting angle. Hub configuration is also shown to have an influence on fan performance, potentially improving performance at low flow rates.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):051008-051008-8. doi:10.1115/1.4041024.

In this paper, the nonlinear vibrations of rotating beams with large displacements are investigated by the use of the co-rotational (C-R) finite element method. In the C-R approach, the full motion is decomposed into a rigid body part and a pure deformational part by introducing a local coordinate system attached to the element. The originality we propose in this study is to derive its formulation in a rotating reference frame and include both centrifugal and gyroscopic effects. The nonlinear governing equations are obtained from Lagrange's equations using a consistent expression for the kinetic energy. With this formulation, the spin-stiffening effect from geometrical nonlinearities due to large displacements is accurately handled. The proposed approach is then applied to several types of mechanical analysis (static large deformation, modal analysis at different spin speeds, and transient analysis after an impulsive force) to verify its accuracy and demonstrate its efficiency.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):051009-051009-14. doi:10.1115/1.4041253.

Steam turbine inlet valves are used to control the power output of steam turbines for power generation. These valves may be subject to vibration under certain operating conditions, especially in part-load operation. Several research papers and reports show that elevated valve vibrations can result in damage to parts of a steam turbine installation. A comprehensive literature review considering 43 different valves investigated in 51 studies reveals the effects causing vibrations. The physics of these effects are explained and methods for reducing flow-induced dynamic forces are presented based on the findings published in the literature. A classification scheme for typical valve designs is developed and the design features are evaluated in terms of valve vibration. Numerical methods for analyzing the fluid dynamics of valves are also presented.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):051010-051010-10. doi:10.1115/1.4041026.

Flooded lubrication of tilting-pad journal bearings provides safe and robust operation for many applications due to a completely filled gap at the leading edge of each pad. Direct lubrication by leading edge grooves (LEG) located on the pads represents an alternative to restrictive end seals to ensure these conditions at the entrance to the convergent lubricant film. A theoretical model is presented that describes the specific influences of LEG design on operating characteristics. First, in contrast to conventional tilting-pad journal bearing designs, the LEG is a self-contained lube oil pocket, which is generally connected to an outer annular oil supply channel. Consequently, each LEG can feature a specific speed and load-dependent effective pocket pressure, which influences the pad tilting angle. Second, the thermal inlet mixing model must consider the specific flow conditions depending on the main flow direction within the film as well as the one between outer annular channel and pocket. The novel LEG model is integrated into a comprehensive bearing code and validated with test from a high performance test rig for a four tilting-pad bearing in load between pivot orientations. Within the investigated operating range good agreement between theoretical and experimental data is achieved if all boundary conditions are accurately considered. Additionally, the impact of single simplifications within the model is studied and evaluated. Finally, the test data are compared to results from the same test bearing with modified lubricant oil supply conditions in order to identify specific properties of LEG design.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):051011-051011-17. doi:10.1115/1.4041038.

Turbine inlet conditions in lean-burn aeroengine combustors are highly swirled and present nonuniform temperature distributions. Uncertainty and lack of confidence associated with combustor-turbine interaction affect significantly engine performance and efficiency. It is well known that only Large-eddy and scale-adaptive simulations (SAS) can overcome the limitations of Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) in predicting the combustor outlet conditions. However, it is worth investigating the impact of such improvements on the predicted aerothermal performance of the nozzle guide vanes (NGVs), usually studied with RANS-generated boundary conditions. Three numerical modelling strategies were used to investigate a combustor-turbine module designed within the EU Project FACTOR: (i) RANS model of the NGVs with RANS-generated inlet conditions; (ii) RANS model of the NGVs with scale-adaptive simulation (SAS)-generated inlet conditions; (iii) SAS model inclusive of both combustor and NGVs. It was shown that estimating the aerodynamics through the NGVs does not demand particularly complex approaches, in contrast to situations where turbulent mixing is key. High-fidelity predictions of the turbine entrance conditions proved very beneficial to reduce the discrepancies in the estimation of adiabatic temperature distributions. However, a further leap forward can be achieved with an integrated simulation, capable of reproducing the transport of unsteady fluctuations generated from the combustor through the turbine, which play a key role in presence of film cooling. This work, therefore, shows how separate analysis of combustor and NGVs can lead to a poor estimation of the thermal loads and ultimately to a wrong thermal design of the cooling system.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Combustion, Fuels, and Emissions

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):051501-051501-10. doi:10.1115/1.4041870.

In the design of gas turbine combustors, efforts are engineered toward reducing the combustion pollutant emission levels. The pollutant emissions can be reduced by premixing the fuel and the air prior to ignition. However, the main challenges encountered with premixing are flame flashback and blowout, thus, the preference of diffusion flames. In this study, flame behavior, flow patterns, and thermochemical fields of backward-inclined diffusion jet flames in crossflow at low jet-to-crossflow momentum flux ratio of smaller than 0.04 were studied in a wind tunnel. The backward-inclination angle was varied within 0–50 deg. The flames presented three characteristic modes: crossflow dominated flame (low backward inclination angle) denoted by a large down-washed recirculation flame, transitional flame (mediate backward inclination angle) identified by a recirculation flame and a tail flame, and jet dominated flame (high backward inclination angle) characterized by a blue flame base, a yellow tail flame, and the absence of a recirculation flame. Short flames are detected in the regime of the crossflow dominated flames—an indication of improved fuel–air mixing. The findings suggest that for low exhaust emissions which are vigorously pursued in the aviation and thermal power plant industries, especially during low-load operations, the jet dominated flames are the preferable flames as they generate low unburned hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide, and nitric oxide emissions compared to the other flames.

Topics: Flames , Combustion , Momentum
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Manufacturing, Materials, and Metallurgy

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):052101-052101-6. doi:10.1115/1.4041872.

Room-temperature fatigue tests were conducted on Ti 834 with prior creep strains accumulated under constant load at 550 °C and 600 °C, respectively. Microstructural and fractographic examinations on specimens with prior creep strain > 3% revealed the failure process consisting of multiple surface crack nucleation and internal void generation by creep, followed by fatigue crack propagation in coalescence with the internally distributed damage, leading to the final fracture. The amount of prior creep damage increased with creep strain. The fatigue life of Ti 834 was significantly reduced by prior creep straining. The behavior is rationalized with the integrated creep-fatigue theory.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Structures and Dynamics

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):052501-052501-8. doi:10.1115/1.4041117.

In the structural dynamics design process of turbomachines, Coriolis effects are usually neglected. This assumption holds true if no pronounced interaction between the shaft and disk occurs or if the radial blade displacements are negligible. For classical rotordynamic investigations or for machines where the disk is comparatively thin or weak, Coriolis effects as well as centrifugal effects like stress stiffening and spin softening have to be taken into account. For the analysis of complex structures, the finite element method is today the most commonly used modeling approach. To handle the numerical effort in such an analysis, the aim of the present work is the further development of an existing reduced order model, which also allows the consideration of Coriolis effects without the loss of accuracy for a wide range of rotational speeds. In addition to the investigation of the tuned design of the bladed disk using cyclic boundary conditions, the described method is also appropriate to investigate mistuning phenomena including Coriolis effects. Due to the fact that the computation time can be reduced by two orders of magnitude, the method also opens up the possibility for performing probabilistic mistuning investigations including Coriolis effects.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):052502-052502-7. doi:10.1115/1.4041071.

A model order reduction method based on the component mode synthesis for mistuned bladed disks is introduced, with one component for the disk and one component for each blade. The interface between the components at the blade roots is reduced using the wave-based substructuring (WBS) method, which employs tuned system modes. These system modes are calculated first, and used subsequently during the reduction of the individual components, which eliminates the need to build a partially reduced intermediate model with dense matrices. For the disk, a cyclic Craig–Bampton (CB) reduction is applied. The deviations of the stiffness and mass matrices of individual disk sectors are then projected into the cyclic basis of interior and interface modes of the disk substructure. Thereby, it is possible to model small disk mistuning in addition to large mistuning of the blades.

Topics: Disks , Blades
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Internal Combustion Engines

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):052801-052801-10. doi:10.1115/1.4041037.

Tunnels represent one of the most severe operating conditions for diesel engines in diesel-electric locomotive applications, specifically for nonventilated tunnels located at high elevation. High ambient air temperatures are observed in these tunnels due to heat rejected from the locomotive engines through the exhaust and engine cooling and lubrication systems. Engine protection algorithms cause the maximum allowable engine horsepower to be reduced due to these conditions leading to a reduction in train speed and occasionally train stall. A first law based model was developed to simulate the performance of a train pulled by GE diesel-electric locomotives equipped with medium speed diesel engines in a high altitude and nonventilated tunnel. The model was compared against and calibrated to actual tunnel operation data of EPA Tier 2 compliant locomotives. The model was then used to study the impact of engine design changes required for EPA Tier 4 compliant locomotives, specifically the introduction of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), on engine, locomotive, and train performance in the tunnel. Simulations were completed to evaluate engine control strategies targeting same or better train performance than the EPA Tier 2 compliant locomotive baseline case. Simulation results show that the introduction of EGR reduces train performance in the tunnel by increasing the required reduction in engine horsepower, but is slightly offset by improved performance from other engine design changes. The targeted engine and train performance could be obtained by disabling EGR during tunnel operation.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Technical Brief

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;141(5):054501-054501-4. doi:10.1115/1.4041963.

Critical slowing down (CSD) is a phenomenon that is common to many complicated dynamical systems as they approach critical transitions/bifurcations. We demonstrate that pressure signals measured during the onset of thermoacoustic instabilities in a gas turbine engine test exhibit evidence of CSD well before the oscillation amplitude increases. CSD was detected through both the variance and the lag-1 auto-regressive coefficient in a rolling window of the pressure signal. Increasing trends in both metrics were quantified using Kendall's τ, and the robustness and statistical significance of the observed increases were confirmed. Changes in the CSD metrics could be detected several seconds prior to changes in the oscillation amplitude. Hence, real-time calculation of these metrics holds promise as early warning signals of impending thermoacoustic instabilities.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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